4th of July story by Jim Olle
A short story recorded by Jim Olle at the 75th anniversary of the Westmorland Neighborhood 4th of July celebration.
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- Interviewer: Marie Kazmarek
[START OF RECORDING]
INTERVIEWER: And this is Marie Kazmarek and I’m here with—
NARRATOR: Jim Olle.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah, so do you have any, um, favorite memories of Westmorland in general?
NARRATOR: Well, we’ve lived here since 1967, so we’ve been to all the Westmorland Fourth of July and celebrations since then. They were most fun when our children were young enough to come with us, now they’re all grown and have their own children and aren’t able to come back. But the Fourth of July celebrations are certainly one of the most memorable events. It’s also created a lot of friends, uh, lifelong friends that we made. [PAUSE] We go to church and our children went to school in the neighborhood.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah, yeah that’s good. Do you have a favorite Fourth of July memory?
NARRATOR: No, not a favorite one because all of them were a little different. Worked in the beer tent for years, it was always an interesting experience. Uh, watching all -- the mothers would send their children up to the fence to yell in to tell dad that it was time to come home, that he’d been there too long. But the fireworks were good when they were having them, we lived three blocks away and we would even get some remnants—the wind would blow some out. It was sad to see that end, but we understand the danger, the cost of the insurance, but the kids always talked [UNINTELLIGIBLE] about the fireworks, the pony rides, fire truck rides, the little uh Ferris wheel that they used to have.
INTERVIEWER: Wow, yeah, that’s a lot of stuff I didn’t know about before. I didn’t know about the fireworks initially here, that used to take place here.
NARRATOR: Oh, little smoke there. [UNINTELLIGIBLE] It’s as close as they could get. They would light them off in front of the trees.
NARRATOR: So you could see how close that is.
INTERVIEWER: I’d be afraid those could catch fire.
NARRATOR: Yeah, well, there was a neighbor, across, who lived on the other side of the street there who would stand on his roof of his home ready to extinguish. So it got—but—the fireworks weren’t as large and expensive as they are now, they were much more modest. So yeah, for years, we were 200 feet away from that.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah. What do you like about the Westmorland neighborhood in general?
NARRATOR: The people. It’s gotta be the people.
INTERVIEWER: [ASIDE] No—that’s okay—okay.
NARRATOR: So I’m sure every block of the neighborhood has good people, but we were lucky enough to get around [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
INTERVIEWER: How has the park changed over the years?
NARRATOR: This park?
INTERVIEWER: Yeah, like events, or [UNINTELLIGIBLE]
NARRATOR: Oh, I don’t know that, well. We used to have softball games here, only during this Fourth of July Celebration did we never have anything more than children’s games. But, [UNINTELLIGIBLE] We have three six year old grandchildren and this is one of their favorite places to come when they come to visit us. I think it’ll always be the—excuse me—I meet a lot of—
NARRATOR: No, we always meet a lot of nice parents and kids, you know, our grandchildren will come not knowing anybody, but before they go home they’ve made some friends, playmates.
INTERVIEWER: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any stories?
NARRATOR: No, no that’s enough.
[END OF RECORDING]